At What Age Should People be Able to Drive and Vote?

At What Age Should People be Able to Drive and Vote?

Ava DiBurro, Writer

The most important part about high school may not be graduation, but where your birthday falls. Two of the most important milestones in high school are your sixteenth and eighteenth birthday. Why? It is the first time high schoolers take on true adult responsibilities, as they gain the privilege to drive and the right to vote. 


Teenage Driving

One of the biggest moments in high school is the ability to get your license. Most people are able to get their license junior year of high school, or their sophomore year if they are lucky. The question is, should high schoolers be able to get their license sooner or later than sixteen years of age?


A junior at Pentucket believes that teenagers should be able to get their license sooner than sixteen years old. The junior, who wished to remain anonymous, said, “No matter your age, there are always going to be horrible drivers on the road, so we should all have the freedom to drive at fifteen.” 


Mr. Honer, a history teacher at Pentucket, made a similar statement. He said, “Kids should be able to drive at sixteen because some [kids] are super responsible, never texting, and doing the right thing, but there are also irresponsible adults too.” 


By law, the state of Massachusetts offers the average teenager the ability to receive their full license by the age of seventeen. South Dakota, North Dakota, and Montana, offer the youngest age to receive a full license by the age of sixteen. 


Additionally, a Pentucket parent said, “I think the driving age at sixteen or sixteen and a half, is right where it needs to be. It gives teenagers time to learn in a controlled environment before the end of high school. Going to college or getting a job after high school requires mobility, this way they are prepared and have some experience.”


Another junior at Pentucket did not support the idea of teenagers being able to get their license at sixteen, but rather to be able to get their permit at fifteen or fifteen and a half.


An additional piece of getting your license is the JOL (junior operator license). The JOL frustrates many new drivers because it prevents them from driving anyone other than their family members for the first six months of their license. 


Surprisingly, nobody decided to change the rules of a JOL, but rather to start the license process a little bit earlier.



Every year, there is always something new to vote for. Whether it is a local election, a new senator, or the president. Besides, the voter turnout in the U.S. has soared in recent elections, but is still low compared to other countries. It begs the question should the voting age be lowered?


Currently, the fifteenth amendment protects the individual right to vote in America, and the twenty-sixth amendment gives a citizen of the United States the right to vote at the age of eighteen. 


But what if sixteen year olds could vote? Mr. Honer, said he would lower the voting age because, “a lot of students are plugged into politics and it ends up being age discrimination because you cannot vote until you’re eighteen. There are fifteen year olds that know more than thirty year olds.”


As much as that is true for some, a junior at Pentucket believes that the voting age should stay right where it is. She said, “I think a good voting age is eighteen because it is the official age of becoming an adult, like if our grade was able to vote today, they would make a joke of it.” 


Other juniors at Pentucket agreed. Many said that they do not follow political news. Another student said, “I don’t care enough about politics at this age. I feel like our votes do not have an impact in governmental matters.” 


A Pentucket parent agreed, saying, “Given the fact that you can join the military and go fight in a war at eighteen, you should be able to vote at that age and have a say in the politicians who make those decisions.” Being able to vote at the age of eighteen seems to be the perfect fit, as it allows people to vote for politicians who make decisions, given that the politicians could send them off into war. 

Although lowering the voting age is appealing, the truth is that young adults would rather wait until they are eighteen to vote. Inversely, many laws have been put in place to protect young drivers, so it seems best if they are allowed to begin the license process at a younger age.